I’m sure you’ve noticed that things got shaken up quite a bit so far in 2020. That’s an understatement.
So much shake-up that our work decisions need a fresh look. What will be in demand now and in the future will be different in some ways. Some things will remain, some things will rise strongly, and some things will drastically change or go away.
As a result, I decided it’s time to update my career and self-employment ideas for you, to account for this twist in the road.
First, Know What You Need.
I wrote two posts in the past that help to explain what we need in our work (and what to avoid), as introverts, highly sensitive people (HSPs), and other sensitive souls. They also give you some specific career and self-employment ideas:
If you haven’t read one of those, start there first, because there’s good background there, and the lists are still relevant today. Whether you read this post first or second, these posts should go together as a set for this to be most useful.
Meaningful lines of work that are likely to grow now and in the coming years…
These fields are relevant whether you’re thinking jobs or self-employment.
The previous posts, mentioned above, talk more about the roles you might enjoy playing, whereas this list focuses more on fields of work that will likely thrive.
These guesstimates are based on my study of the current situation as well as professionally researched predictions for climate and financial disruptions, which some say this pandemic is but a dress rehearsal. Sorry to say. 😞 (I’ve also got some tips for resiliency in the face of so much change, below this list.)
These lines of work that I’m listing aren’t centered on making a lot of money, and that’s OK because that’s not the main measure of a fulfilling good life. But they will be in demand and meaningful and that’s what I suggest as good criteria.
If you can get creative and connect with others to help make it work, these ideas could become viable for you.
- Communications/storytelling for use in fundraising or marketing.
Specializations will definitely help (such as grant writing, non-profit donor appeals, or for particular social media channels, video), but generalists will also be in demand.
- Design and illustration especially that supports storytelling and communications, as described above.
- Inclusion/ diversity/ equity/ justice/ reparations — research, training, consulting, policy development — for businesses, schools, organizations, and government. (Basically everyone needs this and many will be scrambling to find it.)
- Online training/ facilitation/ teaching – especially as relates to any of the fields on this list. If you know how to do something, maybe you can teach a course about it online.
- Software development and related customer support – especially for software creating work efficiencies and remote work possibilities.
- Soulful ways to connect and find solid ground, meaning, and community amidst uncertainty – including related to art and music.
- Local farms and supplies/ and home gardening and supplies.
- Local food suppliers/ distributors/ shops.
- Takeout-only restaurants, delis, and food trucks.
- Specialized counseling/therapy that addresses the most pressing needs – such as chemical dependency, anxiety, and trauma.
- Health care services that address the most pressing needs – such as pain relief, occupational therapy, infections, depression/anxiety.
- Public health related – tracking, research, treatment, vaccines, policy, innovations, and products (e.g., masks, locally made test kit supplies).
- Grief-related services – including grief counseling, green burials, death doulas.
- Career change services done in creative affordable ways (help with resumes/LinkedIn, career coaching, job change training and coaching)
- Small business development services/trainings/support, done in creative affordable ways.
- Training others in community development, leadership, organizational skills.
- Conflict resolution services (mediation, skill trainings, etc.)
- Alternative solutions for public safety and violence prevention such as restorative justice.
- Cybersecurity (A tip: The training isn’t that long and the pay is decent.)
- Resiliency development (for business, organizations, towns) and various disaster preparation services.
- Products to help people through utilities disruptions. Such as wood stoves, insulation, well digging, rain collection, water purification.
- Renewable energy systems and repair.
- Natural food production innovations such as permaculture and looking to indigenous methods for local foods.
- Support for adapting to new foods and understanding evolving nutrition needs (such as adapting to more plant-based diets in some places).
- Teaching various DIY life skills like: finding medicinals in nature, repair skills, and similar.
- Support for being physically fit, especially outdoors. (Less focused on weight loss but more for strength and coping.)
- Anything to do with bicycles.
- Creative offerings for fun and joy, which are always in demand. Especially participatory art and music, not just performance. Music can reach everyone so deeply. (Examples: teaching singing or playing instruments, ukelele small groups, crafting.)
- Creative reuse – making things out of “trash.”
Got a Few Business Ideas? Now What?
If you have a business idea, there’s a lot to do before you invest down that path. I wrote up a checklist on when you know your new business idea is ready. Also, a good way to explore an idea is to host a simple focus group (here’s how).
Trying New Things Is Hard. Unpredictability Is Hard. And It’s Doable.
It’s hard to try new things, especially in the face of so much unpredictability. I recommend small experiments first, over trying to make a big leap all at once.
You can do this. One piece that helps is knowing what to change, and what not to change. Like this willow tree:
If you are not really clear on your own strengths and your own values, it’s hard to choose the right path. You might need a career coach to help you land in knowing what will work best for you.